Friday, November 12, 2010

Not All Fats are the Same-The Skinny About Fats

What you should do if you want to lose weight?  The most common response is, "Stay away from fatty foods!". Well it's true- fatty foods are over twice as calorically dense as carbohydrates and proteins, and when consumed in excess will contribute weight gain. But consuming dietary fat in moderation, especially Omega 3 fatty acids, is vital for optimal health. Now, I am not talking about saturated fats found in nacho's, chicken wings, and fries, but the essential fats found in a variety of nutritionally dense foods such as walnuts, flax seed, and cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and anchovies.

Due to the anti inflamatory properties of Omega 3's, adequate consumption of these fatty acids will decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke. Omega 3's can also decrease the inflamation associated with arthritis. Other research is showing that Omega 3's may play an important role in decreasing the risk of obesity, Alzheimer's disease, and ADHD (WebMD).

The Skinny about Fats: Eating Omega 3 rich food is important no matter your weight loss goals. If you want to lose body fat, decrease your overall caloric intake and saturated fats, while including nutritionally rich foods "power packed" with Omega 3's. And of course, don't forget the importance of exercise in weight control.

If you'd like me to answer any fitness or nutrition related questions, please feel free to contact me.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Scott.

    As a 39-year-old heart attack "survivor," I can attest to the importance and efficacy of Omega 3's in the diet. Over the past 4 years, I've incorporated Omega 3's in the form of fish and nuts, as you've suggested, and I've seen my blood lipids improve dramatically (15% reduction in LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and a whopping 40% increase in HDL, or "good" cholesterol). Granted, much of this improvement can be attributed to other healthy lifestyle adjustments like increased physical activity, but the inclusion of healthy fats has definitely played a role. Even doing small things like swapping regular eggs for "Omega eggs" can help ensure you're getting healthy doses of essential fats.

    To me, the key is moderation. As you point out, fats are more calorically dense, so portion control is important, especially when adding things like nuts to your diet.